TransUnion.ca Survey Finds Nearly 20 Percent of Canadians “Have No Idea” How to Detect if Identity Has Been Stolen
TORONTO, April 1, 2010 – In 2009, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received more than 11,000 reports of identity fraud, resulting in a total loss of more than $10 million – a significant increase from 2008. Awareness and caution with personal information are simple deterrents to this fast-growing crime, but according to a recent Zogby survey commissioned by TransUnion.ca, nearly two in 10 Canadians (19 percent) said they had “no idea” how they would most likely detect that their identity had been stolen.
“Unfortunately, identity theft and fraud often go unreported in Canada, because many people are ill informed about the best ways to prevent and detect breaches in their personal information,” said Tom Reid, director of consumer solutions for TransUnion.ca. “Victims of ID theft spend a significant amount of time and money repairing damage to their finances and credit, when simple awareness and monitoring can help people reduce their risk.”
Since identity theft can happen to anyone, the experts at TransUnion.ca have created a list of basic tips to help consumers reduce their risk of becoming a victim and better protect their personal information:
- Gain peace of mind through regular monitoring. Reviewing the content of your personal credit report on a regular basis through a service like the one offered at TransUnion.ca, can make it easier to spot and quickly address potential fraudulent activity.
-Create a secure oasis for your computer. Protect your computer by using a firewall, anti-virus software and other security measures to prevent unauthorized access from outside sources.
- Be cautious with personal information online. Carefully scrutinize e-mails or other online requests from financial institutions, Internet service providers or other organizations asking you to provide personal information such as your social insurance number. E-mails claiming to be from a reputable firm and requesting sensitive information may be fraudulent. A simple phone call can often help you confirm the legitimacy of these communications and then safely deliver necessary information right over the phone.
- Soothe fears by shredding sensitive documents. Identity thieves get information from many sources, including the mail and even trash bins. Get into the habit of shredding unneeded credit card, insurance and loan applications, bills, receipts and other documents that contain your personal information.
- Know your next steps in case of identity theft. More than eight in ten (82 percent) of survey respondents said they would first contact their bank, credit card company or the police upon discovering their identity had been stolen. If you suspect that your personal information may have been compromised, another critical step is to contact the credit reporting bureaus to quickly place a fraud alert on both of your credit reports. This can help prevent unauthorized accounts from being opened in your name in the future.
About the Survey
Zogby International was commissioned by TransUnion to conduct an online survey of 501 Canadian adults. Zogby International‘s partners supply email addresses for adults in Canada. These panelists were invited to participate from February 17-19, 2010. Slight weights were added to region, age, education, and gender to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.
As a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Based in Toronto, with global headquarters located in Chicago, Illinois, TransUnion provides local service and support throughout Canada. Visit www.transunion.ca to learn more.